In this blog, we look at some of the critical measurements when fitting cubicles. A cubicle first and foremost is to index cows properly. Proper indexing means the cow lies squarely on the bed reducing soiling, accidental teat damage to a neighbouring cow and maximising cow spaces and comfort. Your cow cubicles should be designed to promote cleaner conditions, thus helping to maintain the health of your herd and reduce labour. Here are the key questions that need to be answered to spec up a cubicle job correctly and why they are needed.

First up,

Number 1. Is it a  Single line of cubicles or Head to head cubicles?

In most new sheds this is standard enough but older sheds are restricted to the passage width and bed size the shed dictates. Here is the key measurement in terms of cubicle space design.

Features and dimensions of cow cubicles Tom Ryan, Teagasc, Kildalton Click here for link to Article
Width (centre to centre) +/- 0.025 1.15 meters
Total length (rows towards wall) 2.3 – 2.6 meters
Total length (rows head to head and single rows with no front
2.21 – 2.45
Brisket board from rear kerb (if fitted), +/- 0.05m 1.75 meters
Neck rail from rear kerb, +/- 0.05m (measured horizontally) 1.70 meters
Height of neck rail, +/- 0.05 1.15 meters
Cubicle bed slope +/- 1% 5%
Bedding height above the passageway floor 0.2 – 0.25 meters


Number 2. Post and rail or wall-mounted cubicles?

If it is on a wall, is it mass concrete?  Cavity block is poor they may fall off as the block is weak and silage walls are generally uneven or sloped. There is the option to bolt through and use a backing strap if needed but we prefer not to. Post and rail is a far better option in this case.


Here is another Blog we did on Cubicle Mounting Options 

Number 3. Are there RSJ’s in the bed?
The best practice is to work the RSJ’s into the beds. In the case of head to head, we recommend running the rail off one side of the RSJ’s and offset the bed. this allows for one continuous run of pipe. You also only need one pillar in between each RSJ. You can also bolt the lengths of pipe into each RSJ, you still need the pillar between each bay but there is a lot more waste as you need to cut each length to suit each bay. The pillars are set in concrete every two cow spaces but need to be offset to the cubicles as the cubicle space need to be correct for each cow space.

Key Note: where people make the mistake is when they line the pillar up straight with the centre of the web of the RSJ. This means the horizontal cubicle pipe hits the corner of the RSJ and we can pass it or bolt into it. You also need to watch out for bull rails and railway rail which need different fittings to a standard RSJ.

Number 4. What is the length of the run of beds?
This can tell you how many cubicles are needed, you can divide the standard cubicles bed size (1145mm c/c) into the length to see how many spaces there will be. A bay is normal 4.8 meters which is standard and will take 4 cubicles but as the run extends you gain cubicle spaces.

Number 5. How deep is it, from the toe of the bed to the wall or the total width of the head to head bed?

This helps us to understand the size of the cubicle that you require. We have a range of cubicles from 5’9”ft to 7’6”ft to suit all cow and bed sizes. We would recommend 100mm at the front and 225mm back of the beds so a 7ft bed needs 6ft cubicles for post and rail cubicles set up.


Number 6. Does it start and finish with a wall?
Can we brace off the pipes off the wall or do you need to finish with a cubicle that would have to be braced with a diagonal bar. We always recommend finishing with a wall, it has several benefits. It helps stop drafts, the beds stay a lot cleaner and you can mount drinkers, etc on the wall.


Here is a video we did with Grasstec looking at the design and key cow cubicle measurements of a new cubicle shed we had worked on. Vincent goes through all the key measurements and decisions he has to make when design out this new cubicle shed. It is well worth a watch!



At O’Donovan Engineering, our motto is “quality and innovation give us the edge” – and this is the standard we hold ourselves to. We are proud of the fact we manufacture our products in Ireland and that we employ staff from our own community. O Donovan Engineering is CE Certified to EN 1090 – Execution Class 2 and we working to ISO-9001-2015 standard. The quality and finish of your job are what matters to us and our staff, we have built our name through providing a great service, be it designing custom made products for your needs, solving problems that arise during construction or just good solid advice from our experienced sales team. We strive to provide uncompromising quality in everything we do. By placing the customer at the core of our business we deliver the perfect solution to suit your needs.


For more on our cubicle options

O'Donovan Eng